Some of Canada’s finest agricultural land is in the Edmonton region. This is a farmers’ market city, with brilliant meat and produce. It’s also a culinary workshop, where some of Canada’s finest chefs launched their ideas. Today, Edmonton is in the midst of a food scene explosion, and Northern Lands is inviting some of the country’s best to come into town and mingle with them.
A – Z
Executive Chef Serge Belair is considered one of Canada’s top culinary experts. Named National Chef of the Year in 2012, he has been a key influencer in building Edmonton ‘s reputation as an international culinary destination.
Hailing from Gatineau, Quebec, Chef Serge studied at Commission scolaire la Vallée de la Lievre and honed his skills at Hotel Clarion Gatineau’s Restaurant La Pergola from 1999 to 2005. He became the Shaw Conference Centre’s Chef de Partie in 2005, then Sous Chef in 2007, Senior Sous Chef in 2011 and Executive Chef in 2017.
Through the years, Chef Serge has established a professional reputation for both his culinary and leadership skills. He competed several times on the national and international stage and has mentored many young Chefs who have gone on to receive recognition within the culinary sector. Chef Serge’s achievements throughout his career are impressive. In 2013, he earned silver at the World Association of Chefs Societies’ Global Chefs Challenge and gold and silver medals at the Culinary Olympics as a support team member for Team Canada. He was also named to Edmonton’s top 40 under 40 class of 2015.
Always pushing the limits, Chef Serge continues to build on the Shaw Conference Centre’s extraordinary culinary reputation with his unwavering commitment to quality and innovation.
Although Alexei has always loved cooking, his first career was in the realm of finance, where he ran a successful financial planning practice for several years. It was only after winning a Food Network contest and touring Tuscany that he shut down his practice and dedicated his life to food.
A graduate of NAIT’s Culinary Arts and Retail Meat Cutting programs, Alexei has worked in some of Edmonton’s finest restaurants including Cafe de Ville, Cafe Select, The Blue Pear, and The Marc. In 2012, Alexei took a Chef de Partie position in Calgary at Model Milk under Justin Leboe (Best Chef in Canada 2013). That same year, the restaurant was named #2 on En Route’s Best New Restaurants in the country. There he climbed the ladder through management until 2013 when he left to open S’WICH Food Truck in Edmonton, which also ran a brick and mortar shop in the winter at Macewan University downtown through 2016.
An accomplished pastry chef, bread baker, butcher, charcuterer, and chef, Alexei has staged in many kitchens and with many notable Canadian chefs, including Connie de Sousa (Charcut, Top Chef Canada), Susur Lee (Susur, Lee Lounge), and Robert Clark (C Restaurant Vancouver). He has also cooked internationally, working with Michael Reidt (Miami), Antonio Sorrentino (Chiancianno, Tuscany), Kevin Thornton (Dublin, Top Chef Ireland, Michelin Star), and Seasmus O’Connell (Cork, No Reservations) to name a few.
His breadth of experience has led to a cooking style that is very much his own. Alexei’s food is based around simple execution and big, bold flavours. When possible, he opts to craft every component of his dishes in-house, using only local ingredients from suppliers whom he knows and trusts. In 2015, the S’WICH Food Truck was named the best food truck in Edmonton by Alberta Tourism and CBC. Now that S’WICH has closed, Alexei has turned his focus to Baijiu, a collaboration with Kevin Cam (of North 53) and Justin Hill. Set to open in the fall of 2016, Baijiu will provide a dynamic, Asian-inspired menu and cocktail list to the Edmonton downtown.
Nate Box, a native Edmontonian, loves his home town. For Nate, what started as a small 200-square foot cafe, has grown to four shops across the city’s core — District Café & Bakery, Burrow Grab-n- Go Café, Little Brick — and a bustling catering company. He believes in building distinctive brands and experiences at each of his locations, while maintaining a unified focus of quality, simplicity, sustainability, servant-heartedness, and stewardship. He’s got an incredibly dedicated team behind him that work tirelessly to provide some of the city’s best coffee, baked goods, sandwiches, private venue dining, cocktails, and more.
Shane Chartrand grew up on an acreage throughout his childhood, where he was taught by his parents to grow and respect food. They raised chickens, geese, ducks for winter fair, as well as hunted with his Dad who groomed him to understand what hunting and food represents.
He relocated to a city that was a lot different from that kind of lifestyle to train for his culinary dreams, which came to him after he found his love of food working at a local restaurant close to home. Here, he has spent honing his craft.
Working with award winning chefs, and training in some of the best restaurants and hotels he could find, he has furthered his culinary skills. Once known, Shane started making dents in the community not just through cooking but by participating in events for such charities as Kids with Cancer, MAKE-A- WISH, CNIB. Shane has taught cooking classes to Aboriginal youth, remembering that success is not just dependent upon credentials and experience, but also how much one has to offer back to the community.
Daniel Costa was born in Edmonton, Alberta, but was raised on an acreage where his father, a native of Campania, grew vegetables, made wine, and celebrated family dining. Visits to Italy, both as a child and an adult, have continually inspired Daniel; in particular, he has learned from Italian culture the importance of quality ingredients and to respect simplicity in cooking. Daniel has employed this knowledge in Edmonton first to transform the kitchen of a local gastropub, then to open Corso 32 and Bar Bricco. In 2016, he opened Uccellino, a restaurant inspired by the traditional Italian trattoria.
Sponsored by Michael & Ashley Szott
Celebrated Chef Ryan Crawford and his wife and business partner, Beverley Hotchkiss operate Backhouse Restaurant, in the heart of Niagara Wine Country.
Chef Crawford studied at the noted Stratford Chef School and then became an instructor there for four years. He has travelled extensively, staging at The French Laundry and Terra Grill in Napa Valley; l’Orangerie, Lucques and Patina in Los Angeles, and Jardinière in San Francisco. Closer to home, he has worked with Michael Stadtländer and Jamie Kennedy. He has received numerous accolades for his commitment to the Ontario Culinary Scene and most recently people’s choice award for Air Canada Enroute’s 2016 Best New Restaurant in Canada 2016 and Where magazines best new restaurants in Canada 2015. Chef Crawford’s approach to ‘cool-climate cuisine’ extends beyond a mere farm to table approach — he has integrated a 3-acre farm and a full-time farmer into Backhouse ensuring that your experience starts with the freshest product possible and establishing a foundation for a culinary journey that remains forever memorable.
Connie DeSousa and John Jackson
Co-Chefs/Owners Connie DeSousa and John Jackson met and worked together in 1999 in Calgary. As each went onto discover their culinary evolution they reunited in San Francisco to open the prestigious Mobil 5-star St. Regis Hotel. Jackson, a Prairie-born visionary and community change-maker, studied sausage-making in Italy’s Marche and staged at London’s River Café and Paris’ Le Jardin des Cygnes. DeSousa honed her butchery skills in Berkeley at Chez Panisse, and staged at New York’s Jean-Georges and San Francisco’s Quince. After the successful opening of the St. Regis, they then returned to Calgary to open their first venture side-by-side in 2010, CHARCUT Roast House. The restaurant was quickly named enRoute Magazine’s best new Canadian restaurant top-ten and has been on Vacay.ca’s best restaurant list for 3 years. DeSousa went on to be named one of Canada’s top female chefs after placing as a Food Network Top Chef Canada finalist. This year, both chefs represented Alberta this fall with the renowned international Cook It Raw organization and attended Ireland at Food on The Edge, representing Canada as international authorities on our food community. They are active in many socially relevant initiatives where giving back is paramount, most notably acting as ambassadors for Mayor Nenshi’s Enough for All campaign. charbar, named one of Canada’s 100 Best new restaurants, and Rooftop Bar @ Simmons, named one of Calgary’s best patios, opened in June of 2015 in the 104 year-old historic Simmons building and they haven’t looked back. With many accolades and mentions, it’s clear that the hard work, determination, and focus on community have been a part of this duo’s success.
After a humble start as a short order cook at his uncle’s café, Chef Dobranski went on to finish culinary school before the real lessons would begin. It was Dobranski’s first job at Hardware Grill in Edmonton where he learned the ropes and grew a thick skin. After learning what it meant to ‘get your ass handed to you’, he wanted more and moved to Switzerland to learn the art of European cuisine. Upon his return to Canada, he settled in Calgary where he opened The Brasserie and Winebar Kensington and later Container Bar. Dobranski has created his own modern freestyle approach. From butchering whole animals to grinding it out on the kitchen line, he prides himself on creating rustic, classical dishes with an underground and indulgent edge.
Sponsored by Laurie Anfindsen & Len Treeter
Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Mark has been working in the culinary industry since the age 16.
He began his climb at the bottom, washing dishes at Il Mercato in Bedford, NS, under Chef’s Maurizio Bertossi & Martin Ruiz Salvador. After graduating from high school at the age of 18, he moved west to Canmore, Alberta. There he became Sous Chef at The Drake Inn, while also working under Gold Medal Plates winner Chef Michael Lyon at The Wood Steakhouse & Grill.
Moving back to Halifax in 2009, at age 20, Mark took the co-Executive Chef position at The Hilton Garden Inn, Halifax Airport alongside Chef Brenan Madill. After 9 months, he decided to take a step back to focus on learning the craft. It was then that he began working under Chef Graeme Rupple at The Brooklyn Warehouse.
In May 2011, at age 23, Mark earned his Canadian Red Seal Certification and also completed the Culinary Arts program at the Nova Scotia Community College, Akerley Campus. In June 2011, he became Head Chef at The Brooklyn Warehouse.
Since then, Brooklyn Warehouse has taken the titles of “Best Restaurant – Halifax” The Coast’s Best of Food Awards 2012, 2013, 2014, Bronze in 2015 & Silver in 2016; “Best Restaurant – Chef Inspired Casual Fine Dining” Taste of Nova Scotia Prestige Award 2014 & “Best Restaurant – HRM” in The Chronicle Herald 2014. His second endeavor, ACE Burger Co., has taken the title of “Best Burger, Halifax”, 2013, 2014 & 2015 and the newly-opened Battery Park Beer Bar & Eatery was named “Best New Bar, HRM”, 2016.
Independently, Mark has also won Gold in the prestigious Gold Medal Plates regional competition, Halifax, 2016; “Chef of the Year”, 2015, Nova Scotia Association of Chefs & Cooks; “Culinarian of the Year”, 2014, Nova Scotia Association for Chefs & Cooks & Bronze at the CCFCC National Senior Competition in St. John’s, Newfoundland, 2015.
Currently, at age 28, Mark is Executive Chef of The Brooklyn Warehouse, ACE Burger Co. & the Dartmouth Beer Bar & Eatery, Battery Park.
Chef Edgar Gutierrez has been on the rise in Edmonton’s culinary scene for over 15 years. With stops working at some of the best kitchens in the city – it wasn’t until reconnecting with old industry friends did Chef Edgar really evolve his love and passion for nueveo-Mexican cuisine. With the opening of Tres Carnales in 2011 bringing authentic Mexican street food to the City of Champions – and most recently the opening of Rostizado – the Tres Carnales Group’s newest restaurant concept, Chef Edgar’s food has been wildly acclaimed both locally and nationally.
Mandel Hitzer has created the restaurant of his dreams. Full of friends, laughter and music, deer+ almond serves slow food that changes with the seasons. In 2011, Mandel brought the term “ pop-up” to Winnipeg, hosting “secret dinners” and in 2013 started RAW:almond, Canada’s winter restaurant. Located at the frozen junction of the Red & Assiniboine rivers, becoming the Worlds most unique winter dinning experience! Dedicated to his craft, community and purveyors, Mandel is committed to building a sustainable future.
Kathryn Joel and Doreen Prei
A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu London and of Leiths School of Food & Wine, Kathryn Joel has lived in England, Scandinavia, and the United States, as well as in Ontario and Alberta. Her love of cooking continues to inspire her travels around the globe experiencing and exploring its diverse culinary traditions. At Get Cooking, Kathryn combines her culinary experience with her commitment to uncomplicated, approachable cooking with the use of fresh, local and artisanal ingredients.
Born in East Germany, Doreen Prei grew up eating cabbage, lard, and speck, and hunting mushrooms. As she grew older, her culinary world was blown open as the Berlin wall came down, creating a fervent love of both cooking and eating. She loves being in a kitchen, teaching, prepping, and playing with recipes.
A Michelin-star trained, award winning chef, Doreen has cooked in private restaurants and hotels in Germany, Ireland, and Canada. She completed her training in Berlin, Germany at First Floor Restaurant, before moving to Dublin where she cooked at the Four Seasons Hotel, Chapter One, and Gordon Ramsay. In 2008, Doreen moved to Edmonton, cooking at the Fairmont Hotel MacDonald, Zinc Restaurant, and the Edmonton Petroleum Club. Doreen won silver at her first Gold Medal Plates Championship in 2016 and won gold at the Canadian Food Championships in the Seafood category. At Get Cooking, Doreen is always cooking and teaching, working alongside partner, Kathryn Joel.
Kelsey Johnson, the head chef and a partner of the newly opened Cafe Linnea, has always had a passion for cooking. From a young age, growing up in a very small Scandinavian community just outside of Edmonton, her heritage has been a constant source of inspiration, as well as the local farmers and producers around the city. After working at Duchess Bakeshop for a few years, she and the owners, Giselle Courteau, Jacob Pelletier, and Garner Beggs, decided to team up and opened her dream restaurant, serving a modern take on what brunch can be in the city. Enjoy!
Peter Keith grew up in St. Albert, getting his first taste of culinary competitions in the 2008 High School Culinary Challenge. Since then he has attained his Red Seal Chef certification from N.A.I.T. and gone on to compete in over 15 international culinary events. Peter worked in top kitchens in Edmonton and then Vancouver (Hardware Grill, Jack’s, Shaw Conference Center, Chambar) before returning to Alberta to open “Meuwly’s” with local charcutier William Kotowicz. Together they are excited to bring artisan meats & preserves and cooking classes to Edmonton at their 124th St. storefront this autumn.
Born and raised on the prairies of Alberta, Chef Kozak found his love for restaurants and cooking in a small town road side dinner slinging sandwiches and pizza to local rig workers and farmers. The way a simple meal could improve someones entire day caught the attention of the young short order cook, who quickly pursued a career in the culinary arts. After gaining experience in kitchens throughout Edmonton, Vancouver and Victoria he opened the acclaimed Three Boars in 2012, winning Edmonton’s Best New Restaurant that year. Brayden and his partners have since opened the wildly popular Farrow Sandwiches and Coffee.
Blair gained his experience as an executive chef working throughout Alberta and the prairies. He now calls Edmonton home and is the owner and chef of RGE RD (Range Road). RGE RD grew out of a series of local farm dinners and transitioned into a lauded restaurant earning mentions on “best of” lists locally and nationally. Rather than emulate a style of cuisine or be pegged as something instantly categorical – like Italian, French, et al, RGE RD Restaurant endeavours to be “untamed” —reflecting the ever changing landscape and the spirit of the city. Blair’s cooking exemplifies the philosophy of local, healthful and ethical food, while also reimagining the dining experience as belonging to a specific time and place.
Chef Duncan Ly is one of Calgary’s most well-respected and award-winning chefs. His career has found him working at some of the country’s most esteemed dining establishments including Tofino’s Wickaninnish Inn, Vancouver’s Diva and Calgary’s Catch, Hotel Arts, Kensington Riverside Inn and as Culinary Director for The Vintage Group of restaurants. In his earlier years, Chef Ly was awarded the prestigious Karl Schier award as Vancouver’s Top Apprentice and represent Canada at the Bocuse d’Or, one of the top international culinary competitions held in France. Chef Ly represented Calgary’s exciting dining scene at the Canadian Culinary Championships in February 2014 taking home the silver medal after winning Gold Medal Plates in Calgary November 2013.
Jakob Lutes is the chef and owner of Port City Royal. Born and raised in Fredericton New Brunswick, he was fascinated at a young age by food, flavours and the hospitality found within the home kitchen. Jakob was educated at the Culinary Institute of Canada before working on Springwillow Farm in PEI, Treadwell Farm to Table Cuisine in Niagara and Atelier in Ottawa. Inspired by his love of New Brunswick, he is drawn to it’s unique culinary history and our place within it.
A chef, restaurateur and food advocate, Darren MacLean is known for his no-nonsense approach to cooking and understanding of
cuisines that stretch well beyond his prairie roots. He first began to capture attention in Calgary’s dining scene in 2012 when he opened downtownfood; a “New Canadian Bistro” which included the city’s first-ever rooftop garden (complete with solar-powered drip irrigation and beehives). The hyper-local approach to cooking and depth of flavours delighted both diners and critics alike.
While he appreciated the accolades and experienced success at the restaurant, he could not resist following another passion:
Japanese cuisine. He travelled several times to Japan, studied the culture relentlessly, and befriended some of the the world’s top Japanese chefs. In 2016, he opened Shokunin, an izakaya-style restaurant known for carefully prepared, authentic yakitori and traditional Japanese small plates—of course made using locally-sourced ingredients.
Tomoya opened his own sushi restaurant after learning to make sushi in Japan. He started working at Mikado restaurant from 2003 and helped open 2 stores and served as area manager.
Tomoya challenged the things that no one had done before in a Japanese restaurant in the city like a new style of menu, being open late, traditional rustic-style decor, using pottery plates imported from Japan, having energetic staff, using pure water and real wasabi and making home blended soy sauce. Izakaya Tomo was named the City’s best new restaurant by Avenue Magazine in 2014 and is a multi-year winner of the Magazine’s best Japanese restaurant in Edmonton.
Sean’s interest in food began at a young age when, during lags of good cartoons, he would watch cooking shows. In high school, he took Foods classes even though he was one of the only boys in the class (or maybe because of it!), and he soon found himself graduating from the culinary program at NAIT. He perfected his skills while working for four years at the Hardware Grill, as well as taking the time to see what the world had to offer. Sean loves to travel and combines his two passions by working in restaurants around the world, such as Le Bernardin (NYC) and Quay (Sydney, Australia). In June 2011, he finished a yearlong international culinary tour that included visits to Japan, Australia, New Zealand and China. Now, with his crew at Red Ox Inn, Sean is using his broadened knowledge to redefine what fine dining means in Edmonton.
Chef Lino Oliveira values quality ingredients and his passion can be traced from his time living on the coast in Northern Portugal. Intrigued by the docks, Lino befriended local fishermen and learned how to inspect, compare and celebrate the daily catch. Witnessing camaraderie, community and culture he learned from their families how to prepare and cook seafood by tradition, culinary instinct and by heart. In 2008, Chef Lino and his childhood friend, Christian Mena opened SABOR in the heart of Edmonton’s historic boardwalk and continue to evolve Portuguese and Iberian flavors while sharing Ocean Wise harvests in the heart of Alberta’s prairies.
Sponsored by ANON
Jacob Pelletier was born and raised in Edmonton and worked at various hotels, restaurants and as a chocolatier before completing the two year culinary arts program at NAIT. Jacob then trained at the Fat Duck and Sketch in London, England where he had the opportunity to work alongside Michelin starred chefs. He has also competed in Germany for the culinary Olympics, in Singapore for the FHA culinary challenge, and Toronto for the Escoffier Society culinary challenge (receiving bronze, silver and gold respectively). He is currently the executive chef and part owner of the bakeshop and manages a kitchen of 18 pastry chefs.
A former model, Christie Peters owns, operates, and is the executive chef of 2 of Saskatoon’s excellent restaurants, The Hollows, and Primal Pasta. When she is not tinkering with the lights, or running down the alley between the 2 restaurants, Peters is creating dishes from ingredients she finds in the garden and parks in her surrounding
area. She got her start under Rob Feenie in Vancouver, which is where she met her husband and business partner Kyle Micheal. Her goal is to study and understand the harsh climate and seasons of Saskatchewan.
Born and Raised in St Albert, Executive Chef Lindsay Porter’s focus has always been on the culinary world, even as a child. This passion for the culinary arts reflects through her re-designed menu at El Cortez Mexican Kitchen + Tequila Bar “From the colours, to the flavors, to the textures, this menu really is my form of expression. I wanted to have fun with it, so I took several traditional recipes, and added my personality to them.”
Sponsored by Bodnar Group of Companies
With nearly 20 years of experience in the industry, Theo Psalios has developed his culinary career upon a foundation of technical cooking skills and a passion for relationships with his customers. Theo has been immersed in the restaurant business his whole life, heavily influenced by his father’s Greek heritage and legacy as a prominent restaurateur, creating memorable experiences in the Psalios family tradition. Theo has had experience working in restaurants in Vancouver as well as a 5-star restaurant in Toronto. Theo has worked in every restaurant position from dishwasher, line cook and server to head chef and owner of Koutouki Ouzeri, a bustling, lively Greek restaurant in Edmonton’s west end. Currently, Theo is entering his fourth year of his newest endeavour, Little Village Foodtruck, where he proudly serves fresh, high quality Greek cuisine that is made with the utmost care and attention to detail. Operating Little Village emphasizes Theo’s love of customer interaction and desire to connect with his loyal clientele.
Sponsored by Laurie Anfindsen & Len Treeter
Ariel del Rosario
Ariel del Rosario and Roel Canafranca first started Filistix in the spring of 2008. Having travelled through Asia and Europe, they saw that street food was a huge part of a city’s culture. As one of the first food carts in the city, they felt that there was a great opportunity to develop a street food culture in their hometown.
Being proud Filipino Canadians, they naturally they gravitated to the cuisine of their heritage. They are strong supporters of local producers and growers and stick to using simple ingredients to make, not only Filipino, but Asian dishes they love to eat themselves.
In 2011, they successfully expanded to both the University of Alberta and Macewan University campuses. With the hopes of changing the way people perceive ‘campus’ food, they’ve developed a strong following with students and staff alike who appreciate having a healthy, yet great tasting food option on campus.
Paul Shufelt followed his mom around the kitchen as a child but you could say his true culinary education began at 16, when he took a job as a dishwasher. After a short stint working in Montreal, Paul enrolled in the culinary apprenticeship program at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, while he worked under Chef Thomas Neukom at the Buffalo Mountain Lodge in Banff, AB. Upon completion of the program in 2001, Paul traveled to Switzerland to hone his craft, working with Chef Urs Thommen at Gasthof Baren Utzenstorf.
With his Swiss experience providing a strong foundation, Paul moved to Edmonton, taking the helm of one of Edmonton’s premier restaurant groups, where he resided for over ten years. After over two decades in the business it was time for Chef Paul to go it alone and fulfill his dream of opening his own place.
The inspiration for Workshop Eatery takes him back to his younger days, eating the bounty of the season and cooking simple comfort food, like mom used to.
When Chef Paul isn’t in kitchen he keeps busy by writing his weekly column for the Edmonton Sun where he provides mouth-watering and stress-free recipes for the modern family. Along with sharing his love and knowledge of anything food related, Chef Paul enjoys giving back to the community by supporting two of his favourite charities, Youth Empowerment Support Services, and Ronald McDonald House. When he has a few minutes to spare, he makes time to enjoy them with his loving wife and family.
Chef Roger Sleiman is the Culinary Director for Old Vines Restaurant at Quails’ Gate Winery in West Kelowna, BC. Renowned in the Okanagan Valley for setting a high standard for himself and his culinary team. Supporting the winery’s vision to create outstanding guest experiences, Roger’s deeply rooted relationships with local suppliers and his own kitchen garden ensure that his food showcases the best ingredients BC has to offer.
Chef Deependra Singh has been creating culinary excellence at Guru since 2009. He has over 15 years of experience at various 5 star hotels in India and in top award winning restaurants in Canada. He strives to maintain the traditional methods of Indian cooking with modern culinary techniques to achieve excellence in his field. Chef Deependra has won numerous awards including the Silver Medal at the prestigious “Gold Medal Plates” in 2012 and the 2006 Rocky Mountain Food and Wine Competition. His expertise in Indian cuisine has been mentioned in various magazine and local newspapers. Chef Deependra always mentions that his cooking talent has also been appreciated by his mother, his first teacher in his early ages!
Vij’s Restaurant has become infamous in Vancouver, across Canada and now globally as one of the finest Indian dining experiences in the world. In 2003, New York Times food writer Mark Bittman said of Vij’s that it was: “…easily among the finest Indian restaurants in the world.”
In 2004, Vikram and Meeru opened up a second restaurant and market called Vij’s Rangoli. The market sells Vij’s At Home, a line of prepackaged gourmet curries, which are based on popular recipes from Vij’s Restaurant. In order to keep up with the growing demand for the packaged meals in BC, and to expand the availability of the products across Canada, a purpose-built food production facility in Surrey, BC, was constructed as the headquarters for Vij’s Inspired Indian Cuisine in early 2011 where the packaged meals are cooked by hand.
Vikram has been involved with the Chef’s Table Society of British Columbia, Farm Folk City Folk Organization, Ocean Wise Sustainable Seafood, UBC Farm fundraisers and the Green Table Society. As well, Vikram and Meeru’s dedication to the work done at UBC resulted in the funding and opening of Vij’s Kitchen, a state-of-the-art culinary learning facility at the University of British Columbia, dedicated to teaching the chefs and nutritionists of the future about ethnic food and cuisine.
I’ve been surrounded by the ocean and seafood since birth. I grew up in a Commercial Fishing family on the coast of British Columbia and we’re positive salt water runs through my veins. When I was shellfish farming, I was looking for a way to brand my oysters. They were grown in a small inlet called Effingham Inlet, Barkley Sound, just off the West Coast of Vancouver Island. Because of this, I dubbed them “Effing Oysters”. It immediately began to draw attention from chefs, seafood buyers, foodies and the general public. I not only saw an impressive increase in sales, I also started being approached by many for online interviews and promotional videos. To this day, after being out of the industry for more then two years, I still get recognized as the Effing Oyster guy, and I’m carving out that same name in the Edmonton area too!
FUGE Fine Meats
Steven Angelo Furgiuele’s obsession with food began at an early age. Raised in an Italian household in Sault Ste Marie, Ont., he grew up surrounded by cured meats, preserved vegetables and hearty food. Meals were marathons, often paired with homemade wine and stories of culture and tradition. This rich childhood has been the foundation for his charcuterie business, officially launched in 2015. FUGE Fine Meat pays tribute to family tradition & craftsmanship; dedicated to producing old world style salumi while maintaining premiere quality standards. FUGE Fine Meat specializes in salumi, whole muscle curing and fresh sausage products; found scattered throughout the city in various restaurants and specialty food retailers.